New Australian Tesla Model 3 customers will reportedly enjoy the recently announced price drop – even if their order was made before the October foreign exchange announcement – although many customers will have to wait for delivery as industrial action cause chaos and delays at the Port of Botany.
Sources say that after Tesla dropped the base price of its “mass-market” Model 3 from $73,900 down to $66,900, were told in an SMS from Tesla that they would be refunded the difference.
“Yes, we will refund the difference of the vehicle cost,” one source reported Tesla wrote in a note via SMS.
Tesla Australia has clarified that the price drop for these customers in practice means their final invoice will be lowered when full payment for the vehicle is due. The discount is not connected to the port delays.
The discount could amount to a bonus $12,000 for some customers, since their new vehicle may no longer have the luxury car tax applied to it, and stamp duty is reduced.
At the same time as the price drop, which effectively reversed a price increase earlier in the year in response to the falling Australian dollar, Tesla also added a number of upgrades including a heat pump and a range of interior and exterior updates
Some sources say that because they haven’t received a VIN for their vehicle yet, Tesla said they would also be receiving the refreshed model.
But they will also face delays in receiving their vehicles – in some cases up to two months.
Deliveries of Tesla electric cars in the final weeks of 2020 face delays and convoluted logistics due to industrial action, as stevedores work to clear Port Botany backlogs.
While work bans imposed by the Maritime Union of Australia in rejection of a pay offer from Patrick Terminals were lifted in October, the Australian Financial Review reports that both Sydney and Melbourne ports face delays as they work to bring in pre-Christmas supplies.
Those waiting for a new Tesla electric car have been caught up in the delays.
According to Tesla shipping tracker Vedaprime, Tesla ships have been delayed since August due to the port crisis, and there are currently at least two ships bringing Tesla vehicles from the US before the end of 2020 will be re-routed to Melbourne.
Cargo ships carrying Tesla cars have had their schedules changed several times, and all vehicles need to go to Autonexus in Sydney to be processed, The Driven was told.
“The Australia/ New Zealand #tesla ships have some complexity this quarter. Sydney port is still in chaos and many delays in region. Some ships will go to Melbourne and cars will transfer to another ship for Sydney,” Vedaprime said in a post on Twitter.
“They will then likely transfer vehicles destined for Sydney to another ship (Shimin) before being processed prior to delivery to customers.”
The Australia/ New Zealand #tesla ships have some complexity this quarter. Sydney port is still in chaos and many delays in region.
Some ships will go to Melbourne and cars will transfer to another ship for Sydney
Here is the current timetable.https://t.co/wRXBPyGCy4
— VedaPrime (@VedaPrime) November 4, 2020
The two ships in question – the Kota Ekspres and Brotonne Bridge – left the Port of Oakland on October 10 and October 15 respectively, and rather than head straight to Sydney’s Port Botany will now divert to the Port of Melbourne.
The Kotas Ekspres is expected to arrive in Melbourne on November 18 after stopping of in Auckland, New Zealand, while the Brotonne Bridge is skipping New Zealand altogether and will arrive earlier, on November 15.
Once delivered, the vehicles on board will count towards Tesla’s fourth quarter sales totals.
While Australia is an extremely small market compared to Tesla’s biggest markets – the US, China and Europe – the introduction of the Model 3 in August 2019 has driven a steep upturn in electric vehicle adoption in Australia.
While Tesla does not report local sales figures to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) which released its October sales numbers on Thursday, it is understood that for the first three quarters of 2020, Tesla sold more than half of the 3,000 plus EVs bought in Australia this year.
Of the new vehicles coming into Australia in the fourth quarter, there will be a mix of Model 3, Model X and Model S vehicles – although Tesla now makes four production models, its latest, the Model Y crossover, is still not available for order locally.
A previous version of this article said that the discounts were refunds, and may have inadvertently linked the discount to the port delays. This has been corrected.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.